Microsoft Corp said on Monday fiscal second-quarter profit fell, in line with Wall Street's forecasts, as sluggish personal computer sales dampened demand for Windows software and the company struggled with unfavorable currency moves against the strong U.S. dollar. "While currency is a headwind for Microsoft and other large international companies, we would characterize the headline numbers as good enough, although some bulls may have been hoping for a bigger beat," said Daniel Ives, an analyst at FBR Capital Markets. Microsoft reported profit of $5.86 billion, or 71 cents per share for the latest quarter, compared with $6.56 billion, or 78 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.
The U.S. budget deficit will decline slightly to $468 billion this fiscal year, the lowest level since President Barack Obama took office, congressional forecasters said on Monday in a report heralding the end of a brief period of dramatically shrinking red ink. Estimates by the Congressional Budget Office kick off what promises to be a contentious budget debate in Washington, as Republicans now in control of Congress seek to eliminate deficits within 10 years with cuts to social safety net programs while lowering tax rates and boosting military spending. Meanwhile, President Obama and his Democrats have proposed new education and infrastructure spending and tax breaks for middle-class Americans to set the agenda for the 2016 presidential election.